Last week I had the privilege of participating in a Mission’s Conference at Phoenix Christian Assembly hosted by Pastor Don Grosvenor. On behalf of the AGIF I made some comments to the conference regarding the importance of missions and the honor that we should bestow upon those who are serving the cause of the gospel on the front lines and working diligently to fulfill the Great Commission.
(Matthew 28:19–20 (NIV)
Missionaries serve as ambassadors for the cause of the gospel to facilitate the ministry of reconciliation throughout the world. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:17–20 (NIV). An ambassador represents and speaks for those that sent them. They do not represent their own interests, but they represent the interests of those that sent them. Ambassadors often stay on the front lines while others retreat to safety.
Oswald Chambers put it this way: “Ye shall be my witnesses.” How many of us are willing to spend every ounce of nervous energy, of mental, moral and spiritual energy we have for Jesus Christ? That is the meaning of a witness in God’s sense of the word. It takes time, be patient with yourself. God has left us on the earth—what for? To be saved and sanctified? No, to be at it for Him. Am I willing to be broken bread and poured out wine for Him? To be spoiled for this age, for this life, to be spoiled from every standpoint but one—saving as I can disciple men and women to the Lord Jesus Christ. My life as a worker is the way I say ‘thank you’ to God for His unspeakable salvation.
They have put their own personal interests aside to carry out the call of the Great Commission because they understand that there is so much work still to be done. Their attitude is that of Christ as expressed by Peter: The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9 (NIV)
This fits so well with the theme of this conference:“Till The Whole World Knows.” They are torn like Paul (Philippians 1:21–25), wanting to be with Jesus, but knowing that it is valuable for them to remain busy with the work of the kingdom. They long for the Second Coming and yet there is a conflict that stirs within them because there are still so many people who have not heard about Jesus and his invitation of salvation.
Our missionaries’ hearts are filled with compassion like Jesus. ”When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.” Mark 6:34 (NIV).
The struggle is great and the risks are real, but we are admonished to not become weary in well doing because at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9). Finally I am reminded of the words of Paul in the Message translation: “With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don’t hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort.” 1 Corinthians 15:58. We honor the missionaries who served both at home and across the world for their efforts in proclaiming the gospel until the whole world knows.